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Airlines Claim Hotel Quarantine Has No Scientific Basis

Airlines Claim Hotel Quarantine Has No Scientific Basis

British Airways, easyJet and Virgin Atlantic have questioned UK plans to introduce mandatory hotel quarantine for arrivals from high risk countries and have called on the government to offer a support package for the industry.

The UK government will make a decision in the coming days on whether it will force arrivals from certain countries to quarantine in a hotel. Earlier this week, the Irish government announced that it might introduce similar restrictions, but that more ‘legislative work and public health advice’ was required before it would do so.

In an open letter penned by representative body Airlines UK and signed by British Airways CEO Sean Doyle, the prime minister was told that “policy should be based on evidence, and we have seen no compelling scientific evidence that introducing a policy potentially of blanket quarantine in hotels, is necessary in addition to measures only recently introduced.” Other signatories include Shai Weiss, chief executive of Virgin Atlantic, Johan Lundgren, CEO of easyJet and David Burling who heads TUI’s airline business.

The letter warned that “UK airlines cannot survive a second summer season without meaningful revenue, or additional support” and called for a “bespoke support package that can get UK airlines through this crisis, and a roadmap out of these restrictions.”

On Tuesday (January 27), just as Boris Johnson’s government said they were considering stricter measures, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar announced that the government was looking at introducing the so-called ‘Iceland model’ of quarantine restrictions, where travellers would undergo a PCR test upon arrival, self-isolate in a hotel for up to six days and then take another test, allowed to leave only if both tests were negative.

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Fionn Davenport is the editor-in-chief of the ITTN group, including ITTN and ITTN Ireland. He's one of Ireland's best-known travel journalists and writers, with nearly 30 years' experience writing guidebooks for Lonely Planet and others.

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